INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of Design Indaba
Here, she chats to VISI about typography, colour in design and how her upbringing inspired her creative journey.
What’s your design motto?
My mantra is “MAKE HAPPY THOSE WHO ARE NEAR AND THOSE WHO ARE FAR WILL COME”.
What role does colour play in design?
Colour is my form of expression. I use colour to evoke emotion and mood. I have just recently completed a project that I have been working on for over four years called “Mood Tweets”. For two years I only spoke in colour on Twitter. I would tweet the colour I felt in the morning and then the colour I felt in the evening. I was commissioned to make a 200-metre art piece for a hospital in Sweden and so I decided to map a year of my tweets to form the basis of the piece. There was a total of approximately 60 colours.
I love how colours respond to each other and particularly how people respond to colour. The use of colour is very much based in the culture of countries and how that filters through into people’s bodies. My particular love is combining neon colours with other colours. I love how your eyes have to adjust, and at night with just the use of a black light pointed on the front, the whole piece becomes illuminated.
Typography is often present in your installations. What’s your favourite font?
Now that would be telling… I like a Condensed Bold San Serif – with drop shadows and layers.
How did your upbringing inspire your career as a creative?
I was brought up in a very bohemian family in a multi-cultural area in London called Holloway. My father was a viola player, classical musician and session musician – he played with The Beatles, Bob Marley and all the greats at the time (British session musicians were in very high demand in the ’60s / ‘70s). My mother was a textile artist – she was always drawing, weaving, dying fabric with vegetable dyes, cooking and cleaning, while my father was practicing or making various things. My mother carried on creating and exhibiting up until she died recently at the age of 85. My French grandmother, who lived next door, was a milliner for the Royal designer Norman Hartnell, while my grandfather was a musician on the Queen Mary. I have two sisters, Seona, a solicitor, and Ishbel, an artist.
Our family was very small and very intense. I was very good at textiles when I was very young but adamantly did not want to do the same as my mum, so went a different route.
My father would have liked us to go the academic route, but they let us make our choices and I decided that art school was for me. I went to the Saint Martins School of Art and the Royal College of Art. My family definitely set the scene for my future.
Which of your projects have you most enjoyed working on?
Every project comes with lots of joy and challenges. I always look forward and hopefully move forward, so I love the project “EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN” – the piece for the Design Indaba Festival I have worked on with Luke Morgan. I love the challenge of working in different countries and working with people who really get what I am trying to achieve.
What are you looking forward to at Design Indaba 2018?
As I am so busy all the time, I love going to a festival when I can sit and listen to as many speakers and see as many events as possible. I love hearing what people have to say and it gives me thinking time. I have never been to Cape Town before so I am excited to get to know the city, meet people, listen, learn and enjoy.